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Golden opportunity

Win would give UNH conference championship

Sports Editor

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

 

The Wildcats have an opportunity to win the Colonial Athletic Association outright for the first time in UNH football history with a win Saturday at home against No. 19 Towson. The team is already guaranteed at least a share of the conference championship.

A win, though, would guarantee the Wildcats a berth in the Football Conference Subdivision playoffs for the ninth straight season, more consecutive appearances than any other team. 

“You control your own destiny,” head coach Sean McDonnell said. “The kids worked very hard for this. … They put themselves in a position in November to be playing for a championship. [There] is not much more you can ask for as a college football player.”

Once again, McDonnell’s No. 7 Wildcats are expected to play two quarterbacks. Sean Goldrich will get the start, but electric Andy Vailas will see playing time too. 

But it’s the rushing attack that will set the pace for the offense. 

The rushing attack, which is ranked No. 2 in the conference, will be facing a challenge as they face the CAA’s second-ranked rushing defense in the Tigers. 

Leading the defense for Towson is freshman linebacker Monte Gaddis, who leads the team with 70 tackles, 30 solo on the season. Gaddis is currently tied for second in the conference in tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (5).

The defense will have to deal with the loss of All-American free safety Jordan Dangerfield. Dangerfield broke up six passes and had 69 tackles on the season, but was suspended for Saturday’s game by the CAA for receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against Rhode Island.

The Towson defense leads the CAA in total defense.

On the offensive side, senior quarterback Grant Enders leads the Tigers and ranks fifth in the CAA in passing yards per game with 208.7.

The Towson rush attack averages 210.4 rushing yards per game, good for fourth in the conference. Running back Terrence West ranks third in the conference in rushing yards per game with 90.

“On the offensive side, they are running the ball very well,” McDonnell said. “It starts with their offensive line and then it’s all set around their running back West.”

Historically, UNH has been very successful against the Tigers. But Towson got the better of the ‘Cats last season, knocking UNH out of the top-10 with a 56-42 victory.

Saturday’s kickoff is at noon.

 

Notes

Dontra Peters will return after suffering a minor leg injury during the Rhode Island game. Peters did not play in the ‘Cats’ last game against William & Mary. The bye-week gave Peters extra time to heal.

McDonnell is 8-5 in his career following a bye week.

UNH is on its first six-game winning streak since Nov. 26, 2005.

The Wildcats are 22-1 in their last 23 home games.

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